Despite how many women are actually funny, the question of whether we're funny seems to be a social debate that will never die. This puts female comedians in the position of talking about comedy as something to overcome, instead something that's awesome to crush it at.
As a comedian and a woman, I'm not about to argue it's easy -- comedy is challenging for both men and women -- but the reality is that female comedians, both professional and aspiring, can have the best time, and here’s why...
You have the funniest friends
The biggest bonus of being a comedian is you're surrounded by other funny people, so you're able to build friendships with people whom you laugh the hardest with. Non-comedians also need humor in their social relationships, but it's more concentrated in the comedy world.
"One thing I really love is all the other funny girls that I'm friends with," comedian and fellow MTV News writer Tess Barker told me. "I regularly hang out with insanely witty and unfiltered girls, many of whom I met through comedy."
You can look however you want to look
When you're first starting out, fellow comedians and bookers will dole out a lot of advice, and for women it's sometimes about your appearance. The common cautionary tale is that if you look too attractive, people won't listen to you.
But comedian Kate Berlant challenged this in an interview with Esquire: "Women talk about them being really concerned about being pretty, or looking too pretty. Which is interesting to me because I've never had that hesitation." You can present yourself any way you want, as long as it's genuine!
You're a lifetime member of a community
Comedy is often the most painful when you first start, mostly because you're not good at it yet. Comedians understand that very few of us start great out of the gate. The best part is that you'll be not only welcomed, but helped by others in the community as long as you work hard. For most aspiring comics, being a part of something is what comes first; being funny comes later.
You feel empowered among men
It's a fallacy, presented to many girls who might potentially be interested in stand-up, that comedy is a scary man's world. Comedy is a huge, nuanced place -- with tons of dudes in it, sure -- but one of the best parts about being a woman in comedy is being able to tell a joke that our male counterparts can't recreate, as comedian Liza Treyger expertly shows in this clip.
For me, when I started doing stand-up, I only wanted to tell jokes that guys could also tell, until a wiser comedian gently explained that I was robbing myself of a point of view.
You learn you can't please everyone
Comedy by definition is about putting yourself out there, and you'll never have a 100% success rate. You're going to bomb (or fail) sometimes ... regardless of whether you realize it or not.
But in a society where women are more prone to apologize, bombing on stage can be weirdly beneficial. Comedy, even in the most challenging circumstances, comes down to getting people to listen to you. Some audiences won't like you or your jokes -- or a combination of the two -- but apologizing for that doesn't serve you any more than it does in real life.
You learn that comedy is hard for everyone (even dudes)
The best part about bombing is that it happens to everyone, even if you're funny and not a woman. Both male and female comedians often laugh harder when watching someone they know is funny fail rather than kill -- not because they're malicious people, but because they have experienced it. And when you're not the one in the midst of an on-stage meltdown, there's nothing more hilarious than that humanity of it all.
You develop a killer coping skill
I once got dumped while driving home from meeting my (ex-)boyfriend's parents, and that was all the material I needed for six months. The equation is not as simple as "bad things = good comedy." Rather, comedy gives you a coping skill-set that you can't get anywhere else, helping you to process and overcome adversity by laughing at it instead of wallowing in it.
You define yourself as more than a woman in comedy
If you're a woman in comedy, you're going to get asked about what it's like to be a woman in comedy ... constantly. But that's off-stage. On-stage, you don't have to answer those (or any) questions, because you're telling people who you are.
Comedian Megan Gailey explains, "I have my own set of experiences and thoughts, and do not want to be thought of as a 'female comic,' a 'straight comic,' a 'girl who loves her dad comic,' but just as a 'comic.'"
You can actually change things
Comedy is not just about being funny; it's about being subversive and getting people to think about things they'd otherwise object to, if they weren't laughing so hard.
From "Bridesmaids" to "Broad City," hilarious and talented women are changing how all of us are perceived, allowing us to be slackers, brides-to-be pooping in the middle of the street and much more. Amy Schumer has used her success as a platform for change as well, pushing to have the word "p---y" allowed on TV, and more recently calling for a Comedian's Bill of Rights.
But you don't have to be famous to change things for yourself and other women through comedy. You just have to talk about what's already there ... and what's on your mind.